Can I skip using toner? And other toner FAQs

how to use toner

I care for my skin. I cleanse & moisturize regularly. I even wear sunscreen. So what if I skip using a toner? Is it really that important? After hearing so many of our loyal Plumsters ask these questions, we decided we should put down the reason why ‘toning’ is a part of C-T-M. Here are 5 FAQs that you should read if you are giving the toner a miss.

Question 1. What exactly is Toning?

Literally, “toning” means to make things firmer. Another widely used meaning is to "bring things in line". Essentially, toners have been used for two purposes:

  1. To make skin firmer, and to shrink pores
  2. To bring skin pH "back in line" after the sometimes harsh cleansing process.
If you ask us, though, toning is about much more than these two things. It’s a first step towards skin repair, to give skin anti-oxidants, its nutrient needs, to exfoliate skin and control blemishes, and to give a "goodness treat" to the skin. Water-based toners are an excellent medium to deposit essential minerals and nutrients to skin to achieve and maintain youthful, firmer clear skin. And that's the best use of a toner!

Question 2. I have dry skin. Do I need a toner?

Think of toner as a tonic, and you have your answer. Alcohol-based toners: definitely no. But a water-based or water & glycerin-based toner with skin repairing nutrients, anti-oxidants and plant extracts like rose, citrus, green tea, liquorice, Aloe Vera etc.? Sounds great for your skin, right? Using a good toner is an easy way to maintain a youthful and vibrant complexion.

Also read:

Which is the right toner for you?

Toners for dry or normal-dry skin, are known by the names skin tonic and gentle skin toner.

Question 3: I have sensitive skin, can I use a toner?

Yes, you can use alcohol-free toners with gentle fragrances. Sensitive skin doesn’t mean you should not apply anything on your face. It simply means that you cannot apply everything on your face- i.e. you should be looking at milder and safer products.

Question 4: Alcohol is a must-have in toners for shrinking open pores, so what do I do?

"Shrinking pores" is one of the enduring mysteries of our lives. Alcohol-based toner, along with deep exfoliators and someclay masks, can indeed make big pores look smaller. The problem with alcohol-based toners is that the alcohol strips the skin of essential moisture, leading it to produce more sebum. That in turn worsens oily-skin symptoms.

Also read:

Preventing blackheads: It's easier than you think!
A step-by-step guide to care for oily skin
Can open pores on face be closed?

Plus, alcohol is not at all suitable for sensitive skin, and many with oily-combi skin also tend to have sensitive skin. Our recommendation is to focus on gentle skin exfoliation. This does make pores look smaller (besides keeping skin clear and healthy). This can be achieved by:


  1. Going for toners with ingredients which exfoliate skin: like AHAs and BHAs.
  2. Using gentle exfoliants - with your face wash - or occasionally
  3. Regular use of face masks to exfoliate and condition skin

Question 5. How many times a day should I use toner and how to use toner?

You should use a toner ideally twice a day, but at least once a day is recommended. And here's the right way to use a toner:

  1. Wash face with gentle cleanser and pat dry. Pour out a little quantity of toner on your palm and splash it on your face.
  2. Alternatively, moisten a cotton ball with the toner, and dab softly in small circles across your face.
  3. Let the toner air dry, don't hurry to wipe it off.
  4. Follow up with a moisturizer

Related products

Green Tea Alcohol-Free Toner
Green Tea Pore Cleansing Face Wash
Green Tea Clear Face Mask
Grape Seed & Sea Buckthorn Renaissance Face Mask
Green Tea Face Care Full Set

About Plum

Plum GoodnessInspired by global best practices in safe natural cosmetics and beauty solutions, Plum is an exclusive, online-only beauty brand. At Plum, we bring together science and product expertise in a harmonious blend. And we give back to nature as much as we take. Designed in London and in the EU, all Plum products are 100% vegan and free of Parabens, DEP, DBP, Propylene Glycol, SLS, PABA, DEA and other harmful chemicals. Plum is available directly from Click here to explore our product range.


1 On-Site Comment

September 16, 2016

its very important for me..i lile this.

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